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Photo: Pixabay
Photo: Pixabay

BY EMMA MILLER

Thirty-five Attorneys General across the U.S., including Barbara D. Underwood of New York, have asked the Federal Communication Commission to help phone service providers to block more illegal robocalls.

Under the 2017 Call Blocking Order, phone companies can already determine which calls are legitimate and block those that are not. The proposed law would help service providers block more calls including “neighbor spoofing.” This is when the consumer receives a robocall from a number that appears to be in the same local area code in order to hide the caller’s identity and encourage the consumer to answer the call.

“Unwanted robocalls aren’t just a nuisance – they’re a means for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting New Yorkers,” said Underwood. “New Yorkers have been bombarded with these illegal robocall scams – including the all-too-common spoofed calls that appear to come from a neighbor – and it’s time for federal action.”

The FCC received 4.5 million complaints about robocalls in 2017, two and a half times more than 2014. People have already discovered new ways to avoid the call blocking measures the FCC put in place last year.

“Virtually anyone can send millions of illegal robocalls and frustrate law enforcement with just a computer, inexpensive software and an internet connection,” the Attorneys General said in their report filed to the FCC.

The proposed law would allow phone companies to use new technology to block illegal spoof calls even if they appear to come from a legitimate phone number. This would begin in early 2019.

The FCC has not yet responded to the new proposed rules.

The proposal was signed by the Attorneys General of Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection.

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